Starr Spring and the Bull Creek Pass Backcountry Byway
The nearest town to the Henry Mountains is Hanksville, 15 miles north - from here Hwy 95 leads south, past the intersection with Hwy 276 to Halls Crossing
, a junction which is near the mountains, about half way along. By far the most easy-to-reach of the three campgrounds is at Starr Spring
, on the south side of Mount Hilliers - a good quality gravel road rises steadily by over 1,000 feet over 4 miles, past two junctions, to the campground, set amongst shady trees either side of a permanent stream, fed by dispersed springs a little way uphill. Like the other two campgrounds, the nightly fee is $10, and drinking water is available all year. Nearby are the photogenic remains of Starr Ranch
, established by gold prospector Al Starr in the 1880s but abandoned after only ten years, in part because of drought, and partly to exhaustion of the gold ore. From the camp, a rougher track heads northeast to a junction along Hwy 276, while another loops all around Mount Hilliers, first leading west then north, climbing through Stanton Pass
(7,385 feet) and linking with the 68 mile Bull Creek Pass Backcountry Byway
, the main route into the high country. To the west this climbs towards Mount Pennell then veers north, past The Horn (a narrow, steep-sided volcanic peak), and across the southwestern slopes of Mount Ellen before rising again and crossing the summit ridge at the eponymous pass (10,485 feet), followed by a long descent to Hwy 95. Just before the highway junction are the red hoodoos of Little Egypt
. Mounts Ellen and Pennell have other tracks towards the summits; only Mount Hilliers is less accessible.
McMillan Springs and Lonesome Beaver
The two other campgrounds are at McMillan Springs
, along the byway to the southwest of Mount Ellen, also reachable by relatively good tracks from Notom-Bullfrog Road
) and Lonesome Beaver
, on the northeast side of Mount Ellen close to the day-use area of Dandelion Flat
, both around 8,300 feet. These two locations are situated just north of the byway on a separate track that approaches from the north, accessible from several places along UT 95.
The Little Rockies
Suitably-equipped visitors can drive far into the main section of the Henry Mountains, but from many people the only easily-reached access point is Starr Spring, from where some of the upturned sandstone formations are within range of a day hike, and perhaps also the summit of Mount Hilliers - this is relatively close in distance (3.3 miles), though over 4,500 feet above, requiring testing route-finding up through several bands of cliffs. The two peaks of the Little Rockies are somewhat easier to explore, however, and accessible to all vehicles, since they are close to the highway. There are just a few short tracks climbing part way up the slopes, and no recognized trails, but the summits may be accessed by off-trail hikes; the route to the southern peak, Mt Ellsworth
, is probably the easiest. In contrast the eastern slopes of the Little Rockies are very rarely explored since the ground breaks up into a series of deep, branched canyons, leading to Lake Powell.